Digital Approaches to Multilingual Text Analysis Symposium

Digital Approaches to Multilingual Text Analysis Symposium

by Charbel El-Khaissi and Dr Katrina Grant

In January 2022, ANU hosted the online symposium, Digital Approaches to Multilingual Text Analysis, organised by Dr Joshua Brown (University of Western Australia) and CEMS member Dr Katrina Grant. The symposium was held all day on January 27 2022 from 1:45pm – 7:30pm and attracted a wide range of speakers, including from South Korea, China, Germany, Spain, United States and Australia. Presentations were administered in a 10-minute speed talk format with 10 minutes for questions from audience members.

Papers discussed the dynamics of digital approaches in multilingual text analysis, including language-specific complexities as well as a diverse range of projects and critiques of digital methods.  Topics ranged from multilingual infrastructure in the Australian public sector, to corpus linguistics, and fonts for various writing systems. A wide range of languages were featured as well, from Modern Standard Arabic to Pintupi-Luritja (Australian Aboriginal).

Stanford’s Quinn Dombrowski kicked off the day with a compelling keynote speech that discussed the ubiquitous nature of digital tools and techniques in academia, and the challenges of adopting a one-size-fits-all Digital Humanities (DH) lens. In particular, the dominance of English language sources in the DH field was challenged, and this very much constituted the vane of subsequent presentations, which explored the increasing use of DH tools and techniques in languages and linguistics research for non-English sources. Dr Joshua Brown spoke to digital approaches to multilingual text analysis based on his forthcoming chapter in Routledge’s Multilingual Digital Humanities. Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities. The conference also featured a presentation by CEM HDR candidate, Charbel El-Khaissi, on the successes and challenges of the Digital Humanities in Syriac studies.

In summary, the symposium demonstrated that a ‘non-Anglo DH’ is very much alive and thriving (cf. Fiormonte, 2016: 438). Dr Katrina’s final remarks of the symposium drew attention to the ways in which diverse research based in different disciplines, faces similar challenges. The papers attracted insightful discussions among the global audience members regarding the many challenges of working on multilingual digital projects. For details of the papers see the abstracts and full program here. The seminar recording is now available for you to view online here.